It’s a situation that employers and employees never want to find themselves in. It could be fire or weather-related like a serious storm or even situations like someone armed with gun, but in every case workplace emergencies involve the need for one strict element: communication.
Workplace emergencies can denote many different situations. Fires are the most common type of workplace emergency, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that fires cause as many as 10,000 employee injuries and 200 employee deaths every year. And according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the annual cost of workplace fires to American businesses is over $2 billion.
For general preparation, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that work sites more than four minutes from a health center should have at least one person on-site who is trained in first aid and to be able to consult with medical personnel. Written emergency medical procedures are also necessary.
But emergencies by their very nature make it tough to develop plans that cover all scenarios or plans that are detailed enough to cover all the main points when responding to an emergency. And the particular aspect of communication to an entire work force–when a fire has started or when there’s a dangerous leak or when an armed shooter enters the building–can be difficult without a system in place.
Many organizations, including colleges, are adopting an alert system. For businesses, it’s called an employee alert system that often uses mass text software and issue out mass text messaging to employees in the advent of an emergency. On college campuses, this has been applied in the form of crime alerts when a dangerous individual is in the area.
Proponents of a mass alert system via text message use the following statistics:
- Over 80% of adults text, which makes texting the most common cell phone activity.
- 90% of text messages are read in under three minutes.
- Over 80% of people use text messaging for business.
Proponents would say an employee alert system that uses mass text messaging could alert the vast majority of employees within minutes about a potential fire or an active shooter or other emergency situations. This form of an emergency alert system would take the most common form of mobile phone use in texting and allows for the possibility of a more effective response to an emergency situations.
An employee alert system would use communications software as an integral part of a company’s response to crisis.